A Door with a View

6 Doors

The walkway to our front door is usually littered with twigs from the river birch that shades it. After dodging those, visitors squeeze through two overgrown yews to reach the stoop. The path sinks a few inches where it connects to the cement slab, requiring extra quadriceps work to lift you up and forward to the front door. Once there, you have to knock because our doorbell hasn’t rung for years. The rusty knob jiggles as we turn it to let you in and then tug it firmly to make sure the screen door latches.

After putting you through these paces, we at least welcome you with a glass of water or cup of tea. All the ice or lemon you want.

Surprisingly, people come. The front door gets as much of a workout as the people walking through it. Our son and daughter-in-law visit or drop off their daughter for an afternoon with Grammy and Grampster. On small group nights, women walk right in. Our college daughter’s friends scatter their shoes throughout the entry for movie or game night.

Door 2Regular readers might remember our morning walk post at the end of last year that ended with the observation: “I’ve had seasons of intense service but right now am more focused on time for writing and time with Craig, our family and friends. But seasons change, and as the new year begins, I’ll be watching for my next movement.”

Craig and I weren’t compelled to measure up to a particular standard of service (although I have in the past and always came up short). We weren’t hunting or striving. We were noticing and waiting, open to receive.

Our gift of service came through that open door.

The daughter of a friend is getting married this summer and asked if she could live with us for five months before the wedding. She’s living at home with her parents, whom she loves, but wants to live independently on her limited budget until the wedding. She wants a place to transition from being a daughter to understanding the woman about to be a wife.

Craig and I have had other people move in for several months, and she seemed like a natural fit for us. The meeting we scheduled to talk with her and meet her fiancé turned out to be a formality. She moves in Monday.

Door 1I’m not naïve. I realize there’s a cost when a friend or acquaintance becomes a roommate. We don’t know her habits, we have to remember we’re not signing up to be her parents, sometimes I want to be left alone or am ticked that I have to keep the bathroom clean.

Even more, inviting someone into our house means inviting them into our lives. I’m happy to let her know we watch Downton Abbey and Elementary, but she’ll also learn that I indulge in Nashville. She connected with our desire to eat locally raised meat and eat seasonal produce, but she’ll soon know that most weeks we also order takeout pizza, Maria’s Special Supreme. Whatever grand thoughts she holds about us will be tempered with the reality of who we really are. She’ll see what our 31-year-old marriage looks like. It’s possible I’ll teach her more about how not to treat her husband than how to love and respect him.

In turn, we’ll see the optimism and passion of a young woman eager to begin the biggest adventure of her life. We get to encourage her hopes and dreams. And likely be inspired to reach for ours.

Come Monday when our rickety door opens, our imperfect selves will welcome the discoveries standing on the threshold.

 

This week I’m participating with Emily Wierenga’s Imperfect Prose on Thursdays. Click the image below to read more. 

Comments

  1. Your many different front doors have welcomed me over our many years as friends. Thanks for giving a real life picture of an open door policy.

  2. What will you think of next? Hope you had a good time in S.F.

  3. wow, i love that you are doing this, and so organically too… just letting God bring those who need ministering, to you… keeping your door wide open. and my husband and i love takeout pizza too. bless you.

  4. Mary Chandler says:

    Can I come live with you and watch Downton Abbey??:) Hospitality lives on. Beautiful words from a beautiful lady.

  5. “Whatever grand thoughts she holds about us will be tempered with the reality of who we really are. ”
    oh, ain’t that the truth? has happened to me every time i’ve shared space with someone. the good, the bad, the ugly — it’s all there for the viewing.

    recently i read that one of our deepest needs as humans is to be known completely and yet accepted. this is why the Gospel is so powerful. it is also why mask-off relationships can be such a powerful tool toward giving and receiving love. real love. the kind that never fails.

    beautiful writing, Lee. thanks for sharing at IP.

  6. Great post. My in-laws have been housing the daughter of a friend for school to save them money (she is an international student) and are likely going through similar feelings. May you all grow in love and patience for one another during this time.

  7. I want to read this again, and walk up your front path! What a delightful description. Your sentiments about seasons, acts of service, and marriage resonate with me. It is good to know that there are times for certain things, and that if we remain open, other opportunities arise. Also, my two shows are Downton Abbey and Nashville. I like your style!

    • It’s so easy for me to charge mindlessly through life, but being mindful is so much richer. Thanks for reading and understanding, Courtney.

  8. Laura Willis says:

    What a treat this was, hearing Lee’s voice and seeing Craig’s beautiful drawings! Thank you.